Selma Jackson, 92

Seamstress, bookkeeper for newspaper

April 10, 2007

Selma Jackson, a former bookkeeper and seamstress, died of a heart attack Friday at Good Samaritan Hospital. She was 92 and lived in Fullerton.

Miss Jackson was born and lived her entire life in the Hazel Avenue home that her father had built in the late 1800s.

"Her parents thought the education she was receiving at Towson High School was inferior, so she was sent by trolley to Douglass High School, from which she graduated in the 1930s," said Luann R. Moorman, a first cousin who lives in Roland Park.

After graduating from Temple University in Philadelphia in 1936, she worked as a bookkeeper at the Afro-American newspaper until retiring in the early 1960s.

An accomplished seamstress, Miss Jackson designed and sewed clothes for herself and others.

"It was a business that she had in her home, and she was still working at it last week," Miss Moorman said.

Miss Jackson was interested in her family's genealogy and had recently learned that her maternal grandmother had been a slave and worked for the 19th-century writer and humorist Samuel Clemens.

"She liked to discuss her family history and share her memories of what life was like in Overlea and Fullerton. She talked about segregation and being fair-skinned, how she was able to pass and shop in Hutzler's in downtown Baltimore," Miss Moorman said. "It was amazing what she went through."

An animal lover, Miss Jackson cared for abandoned cats and dogs.

Plans for a memorial service were incomplete yesterday.

Also surviving is a niece, Rebecca Jackson Warren of Baltimore.

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